If you're a fan of the Sega Rally games, it's safe to say you've probably been waiting a while for a brand-new title in the series.
The last game to release was 2011's Sega Rally Online Arcade for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and even that was essentially a port of Sega Rally 3, which had come out three years earlier. For all intents and purposes, it doesn't seem like Sega is in any rush to revisit its iconic racing game, meaning it likely falls to fans to satisfy this particular niche. And satisfy it they will. Not content with simply sitting and watching his favorite game go unloved, one dedicated Italian fan named Alessandro Schiassi has set out to make his own homage to the original Sega Rally.
"I might have experienced the arcade cabinet first, around 1996-7," says Schiassi. "I clearly remember a bar in Milan having one and, of course, being blown away by its graphics and sound. Sure, it was a different time, 2D games were still the majority, but Sega Model 2 graphics were beyond anything I'd seen before. It was literally an aero-space engineering marvel! Also, as a kid, that was the closest you'd get to driving a car, with force feedback and all!"
Schiassi has called his spiritual successor to Sega Rally Over Jump, and is building it in Unreal Engine 5. For him, it was important to aim for the best graphics imaginable, which, considering the small team size and his lack of game development experience, meant relying on a lot of clever reuse of existing assets to achieve that more photorealistic look. As for the physics, it's built using Unreal's Chaos Vehicle system, with Schiassi tweaking the parameters to try and match that lovely arcade feel.
Out of all its features, however, the news that will likely get Sega fans most excited is the music. As Schiassi is not a musician, he has contacted the Crush40 vocalist Johnny Gioeli to perform the game's soundtrack. Gioeli will be familiar to Sega fans for his previous performances on Sonic Adventure's opening track 'Open Your Heart' and 'Green Light Ride' from Team Sonic Racing.
If anyone of this sounds interesting to you, there is currently a demo of the game available for PC as part of SAGE 2022, the Sonic Amateur Games Expo. As Schiassi writes on that page, his plan seems to be to finish up the forest stage from the demo and see how Sega reacts to his work. If worst comes to worst, he will simply reuse what he's made already to create some cinematics with the original music in the background. You can check out some gameplay below.
Have you tried the demo out yet? What do you make of it? Let us know in the comments!